A price tag of INR 1.45 crore turned heads when Siddharth Desai was picked up in the Pro Kabaddi season seven auction by Telugu Titans. U Mumba’s loss was Titans’ gain as after a poor string of performances by their star raider Rahul Chaudhari in the past few seasons, Titans were left with no choice but to relieve him and procure the services of a new raider.

Desai enjoyed a record-breaking season with U Mumba in 2018 and was at the shopping list of almost all teams in the auction. However, his performances in the current season seem to have taken a hit. The 6ft 2inch raider, who holds the record of being the fastest player to reach 50 raid points, has been a little off-colour off late, with his points tally taking a dip this season.

Are the raids really successful?

The 27-year-old took the league by storm in his debut season in 2018, when he ended fourth in the list of players with most successful raids, completing 169 in just 21 matches. His tall build allows him to execute the running hand touches to near perfection, but the death touch that totally throws the defender off seems to have been missing this season.

Given his record in the previous season, he successfully completed almost eight successful raids per match, but that number has come down to seven in the ongoing season so far. If this continues and it plummets further down, it could have a long-term effect on the overall performance of his team.

Not many ‘Super’ 10s

Earning 10 points in a single game is the crowning jewel for any raider. Out of 21 matches played in the previous season, Desai earned Super 10s in 12 of them. Courtesy off his brute strength and ability to catch defenders off guard due to his speed, Desai was able to put up a stellar record in 2018.

However, the story is slightly different this season as the lethal raider has racked up only three Super 10s in his first 14 matches for the Titans, averaging close to one Super 10 every five games. The drop is significant considering the Titans paid a hefty price to get his services.

Down in Do-or-die

In his 46 Do-or-die raid attempts in Season six, Desai scored 41 raid points with an incredible strike rate of 89.13. But the pressure seems to be getting to the ex-U Mumba raider as he has been ineffective for the Titans in crucial situations. Out of his first 14 matches, the 27-year-old has been able to manage just 14 do-or-die raid points, averaging a point per match.

Given the feat he achieved last season, a statistic of such nature is both worrying and unsatisfying for his team.

Just ‘average’ in Average raid points

Desai emerged as one of the driving factors for U Mumba’s success last season as his innate power to push through defences allowed him to gain maximum points for his team. Although his strength stays intact but his average raid points seem to have gone down.

He averaged 8.07 raid points in his first 14 games this season. There is a drop of almost two average points so far and if the Maharashtra-born raider is unable to replicate a similar performance like the last season, it will almost be a crime to his true potential.

Feature image courtesy: Star Sports & PKL